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Inspiring Kiwi Children to Start Creative Writing

Inspiring Kiwi Children to Read, Draw and Start Creative Writing is the focus for the 2016 Finalist Authors' Tour - New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Kiwi schoolchildren will be inspired to read, draw and develop their creative writing skills by 25 passionate and entertaining authors and illustrators in this year’s Finalist Authors’ Tour for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The Finalist Authors’ Tour runs nationwide from Monday, 1 August to Monday, 8 August. During the Tour thousands of children from all over the country will meet and mix with Awards’ finalist authors and illustrators who will be visiting their schools and libraries. Promoting the fun of books and reading, this year’s Tour will inspire children to read and enjoy new books, as well as encouraging a new generation of writers and illustrators.

“This year’s Tour is a wonderful opportunity for our best children’s authors and illustrators to share their passion about books, reading and drawing,” says Stella Chrysostomou, board member of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust that oversees the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. “This year we are also partnering with WORD, Christchurch’s dynamic literary festival. This is an exciting development for the Awards and New Zealand children’s writing. It’s one that will enliven audiences and enrich experiences for Kiwi children.”

Auckland Public Libraries will have four events that will be open to the public; hosting three finalist authors and an illustrator on Saturday, 6 August. Bernard Beckett (Lullaby), Brian Falkner (Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo) and Maria Gill (ANZAC Heroes) will discuss their books and what inspires them at, respectively, the Mahurangi East Library (11am), Mangere Town Centre Library (11am) and at 1pm at the Albany Village Library. Illustrator Fraser Williamson (Whose Beak is This?) will talk about what drives his illustrations and how he interprets the writing into his illustrations at two libraries – the Te Atatu Library at 11am, followed by the Mt Roskill Library for a 2pm start.

Christchurch schoolchildren will be enthralled at WORD Christchurch’s first event – Read Aloud Primary Schools Day to be held at St Margaret’s College on Wednesday, 3 August. This event, open to all schools, will welcome Kate De Goldi (From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle); Sarah Johnson (The Bold Ship Phenomenal); Bob Kerr (Changing Times); Stacy Gregg (The Girl who Rode the Wind); Steve Gurney (The Beginner’s Guide to Adventure Sport in New Zealand); and Maria Gill (ANZAC Heroes).

More invitation-events with finalist authors and illustrators are being held in Hamilton, Morrinsville, and Te Puke; Waipawa in Central Hawkes Bay; Frankley School in New Plymouth; Lower Hutt and Wanuiomata; and Dunedin and Central Otago.

The Finalist Authors’ Tour concludes with two events for schools to be held on Monday, 8 August at Wellington City Library. The morning session showcases three illustrators; Donovan Bixley (Much Ado About Shakespeare), Helen Kerridge (Allis the little tractor) and Kate Wilkinson (Finding Monkey Moon) who will talk about their inspiration and talents, and how they developed their careers as illustrators.

The early afternoon session features authors Fleur Beale (Being Magdalene), Brian Falkner (Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo) and Patricia Grace (Haka and Whiti te rā!) who will discuss the process and creativeness behind their plots, and how they’ve developed their careers as authors.

“The Tour is all about making connections between children who love to read and the creators of books. We hope that the experience of meeting authors and illustrators opens the pathway for children to be life-long readers. We want children to be inspired to take up the pen or the brush to become our writers and artists of the future, adding to New Zealand’s cultural wealth,” adds Stella.

The winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Monday, 8 August together with the six category winners of the Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori, Picture Book, Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction, Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction, Young Adult Fiction and the Russell Clark Award for Illustration.

As well, the winners of the HELL Children’s Choice Awards, voted for by school children throughout New Zealand, will be announced.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults could not exist without the generosity, commitment and vision of its sponsors. The New Zealand Book Award Trust is grateful to all these organisations for their support: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Book Tokens (NZ) ltd, Wellington City Council, Nielsen Book Services, Copyright Licensing Limited and the Fernyhough Education Foundation.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are administered by the New Zealand Book Council on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. For more information on the Awards, go here.

There is more information about the Finalist Authors’ Tour here. Select the date for 1-8 August, and click.


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  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland